The Project

April 2017 was the beginning of the digital edition of Gezelle's letters. The ultimate goal of this project is a scholarly online edition of the entire letter collection which is kept in the Guido Gezelle Archives. This involves 7700 letters and postcards!

Participatieproject collage

An Enormous Collection of Letters

This huge collection of letters constitutes an essential part of the Gezelle archives. The letters provide an insight into the life and work of one of the most important authors in the canon of Flemish and Dutch literature. The correspondence is also valuable for the study of the history of 19th century religious life, education, press, linguistics, folklore and mentality.

GGA 8696r Letter from Guido Gezelle to his publisher Edward Gailliard

Scholars Share Their Knowledge

It is unique that scholars share their knowledge. Four partners join forces:

  • The volunteers of the Guido Gezelle Society get started on the letters of Guido Gezelle.
  • The academic researcher of the Guido Gezelle Archives (The Public Library of Bruges) gives guidance, delivers the digital images and is responsible for the final editing.
  • The volunteers of the Guido Gezelle Society are able to work on the results of a previous inventory and edition project of the Center for Gezelle Study (University of Antwerp - Prof. P. Couttenier).
  • The Center for Scholarly Editing and Document Studies of the Royal Academy for Dutch Language and Literature provides technical guidance and support. They are responsible for the development of the edition itself.
GGA 3586 sint jan te rade 1 r Letter from Bruno Vander Stichele adapted by Gezelle

Academic Digital Edition

This edition shows you the scan of the letter as wel as the enriched text. You can read the text of the letter as such or dig somewhat deeper into it. In doing so you can discover the various text stages and variants. A unique feature is that all of Gezelles personal interventions are shown as well. For Gezelle, letters were merely utensils which he reworked into articles for his magazines, jotted down poetry on, or cut up into pieces of paper for linguistic notes.


Enriched letters

For the sake of a better comprehension of the letters the text has been provided with additional information involving persons, societies, locations, occurrences from Gezelles life, titles of his works and poems. Bibliographic information as well as contents-related clarifications are available where necessary.

GGA 8454v Hugo Verriest to Guido Gezelle


Our aim is to realise the enormous online edition by means of smaller subprojects. First we will edit the letters by the teachers of the Sint-Lodewijkscollege (College of Saint Louis) in Bruges. The edition of these letters will be available online in the fall of 2020. In 2021 we will start a new subproject concerning the letters by the members of the Royal Flemish Academy of Language and Literature.

Collection Partners

Some of the Gezelle letters are kept in other institutions. The collection partners offered support or digital images of the letters:

  • Bruges Culture Library
  • State Archives Kortrijk
  • Westflandrica, Trezoor Kortrijk
  • English Convent Bruges
  • The Bethune Foundation
  • Ghent University Library
  • Ghent City Archives
  • Archives KANTL
  • Regional Archives Nijmegen & Catholic Documentation Center, Radbout University Nijmegen
  • Leiden University Library
  • House of Literature Antwerp
  • KADOC, Documentation and Research Centre on Religion Culture and Society

Online Edition of the Gezelle Letters

Here you can find the digitized letters next to the full searchable text. The letters are enriched with biographical and contextual information.

Read the letters

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